From Eleven To Twenty One

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My beautiful granddaughter enjoyed her eleventh birthday party yesterday. The lovely Louisa posted a set of photographs on Facebook. Here is one.

I spent much of the day scanning my negatives from Louisa’s 21st birthday party in May 2003, which traditionally took place on the lawn at Lindum House. With a few additions, the guests were those who had enjoyed such events for a number of years.

Of course, a Bouncy Castle was an essential requirement.

That year there was the addition of sumo suits, wrestling in which was continued in the castle. Louisa’s first opponent was Layla.

Later, she took on Sam, and a number of others joined in when battle continued inside.

I took a breather in order to enjoy the flowers.

Louisa produced my album from her 11th birthday party and all these young adults enjoyed reminiscing as the book was passed around.

Derrick and Louisa

Someone else took this photograph, so I scanned the print.

Tesco chicken jalfrezi and rice is not bad, but not as good, and nowhere near as plentiful, as Jackie’s. I know, because that is what we dined on this evening, followed by donuts and Wagon Wheels. I drank Concha y Toro reserva Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

 

A Dust Bath

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Gull at sunset

This is the second of my 7 day nature series on Facebook.

It appeared originally in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/04/29/a-fascinating-collage/

When we paid for Country Girl last week, Jackie also bought one of her favoured wrought iron candle holders for use as a planter. It has a screw fitted to adjust the height.

Candle stick planter

Today, I moved it to the gravelled concrete at the southern end of the garden. This involved moving a pile of bricks from where it now stands, and raking gravel to cover that corner. I had to evict a large number of woodlice, slugs, and, one snail.

Country Girl's headpiece

Jackie had moved a few of the bricks earlier. Feeling the heat she must have removed her jumper, and slung it over the nearest available hanger, thus providing the Country Girl, now dubbed Florence, with a purple hair extension

Brick path

The white climber is now making its way up the Agriframes Arch straddling the Brick Path.

Bee on geranium palmatums

The clump of geranium palmatums halfway down that shot draws bees so large that they weigh down the petals to which they cling whilst plundering the nectar.

Philadelphus

Those plants are at the corner of the Dead End Path, alongside which a large philadelphus is in bloom.

Bee and beetle on poppy

Other plants attracting bees include poppies (this one also has a beetle)

Bee on linaria

and linaria.

Insects in poppy

Bees have shaken off so much pollen in the poppy that much smaller insects avail themselves of the bowl for a dust bath.

Mosquito in foxglove

What, now, is this nosey creature entering the foxglove?

Mosquito on foxglove

It’s a mosquito making a bee seem comparatively harmless.

My afternoon tasks including gathering up The Head Gardener’s weeding and clippings, and dead-heading roses, mostly in the Rose Garden where a few clematises like this

clematis Hagley's Hybrid

Hagley’s Hybrid have been incorporated for variety.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced a stupendous beef stew with new potatoes. So tasty was this that when offered a choice of more stew, sticky toffee pudding, or more stew and sticky toffee pudding, I opted for more stew. That way, I reasoned, I could eat more.  Jackie drank Peroni, and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014, except for the glassful I knocked over the table, which was a shame.

Owling With Attitude

The blackbird still sits on her nest. Peering through shrubs at a safe distance, sometimes her bright little eyes are visible to the viewer, sometimes her upturned tail.

Brambly bedToday’s task for me was to clear one bed of brambles and other unwelcome growth. Simple enough for a day’s work. I thought. In fact the wild blackberry bushes were the least of my problems.

As I began to feel my way into the undergrowth I came across a number of previously unseen plants. Passion flower chokedOne was a heavily-budded passion flower which had become entwined in a hebe, and, of course brambles. The necessary disentanglement was a most delicate operation.Passion flower support Having carried out the surgery I gave it a leg-up by means of netting attached to a metal post set in concrete that Jackie had found elsewhere in the garden. Another such climber had clung to the weeping branches of the birch tree, but had many stems trailing in and out of the bed grasping at anything in its path. Further similar treatment was required. This time the netting was strung between two wooden stakes.

Two types of tree that are abundantly self-seeded in this garden are hawthorn and bay. There was one of each in this bed, their roots, as always, taking shelter among those of  other plants; in this case the weeping birch and some lilies that have not yet flowered.Bed head screwed to birch I had no chance of reaching them unless I removed the wooden bed head nailed to the tree. No doubt this once had a decorative purpose of sorts.  I couldn’t prise it off. Once the rust had been scoured off the nailhead it turned out to be a screw, so dilapidated as to be bereft of a slot. I tried to make one with the trusty hacksaw. I couldn’t get it deep enough.

Then along came Superwoman, who saw that if we removed the rickety slats and the other end, we could leave the post where it was. D’oh!

That is what we did. I dug out the offending trees and replaced the rest of the bed head. Two of the joints had by now disintegrated, so nails will have to be used, when I have bought some of sufficient length. In order that it does have a decorative function, I optimistically fed a passion flower stem through the secure bit.

Jackie speaks of the June gap, which is that unproductive time between the finishing of the spring flowers and before the arrival of those of the summer. The planting here has been so well planned that there is no such hiatus. Water lilyPhiladelphusWhite bush roseRose - pink abundancePetuniasPetunias - magentaDiasca and pelargoniumBegoniaPoppiesVerbascumRodgersiaClematises Star of India and Rouge CardinalI took a break after lunch and photographed water lily, philadelphus, roses, petunias, diasca, pelargonium, begonia, poppies, verbascum, rodgersia, and clematises which are just a few of those we currently have flowering.

Our blackbird is still awaiting the emergence of her chicks. Not so the owl in my friend Hari’s tree. Her two are about three weeks old, and able to reach the ground, but do need to be returned to their Mum. If I am able to photograph our fledglings I am confident that my pictures would not be as striking as the one Hari e-mailed me today.Owling by Harri She believes the creature was displaying a mind of its own when it stared back at its rescuer. I rather like her term for a baby owl, especially one with attitude, which has provided today’s title.

This evening’s meal was Jackie’s beef and mushroom pie with mashed carrots, swede, and potatoes; and crisp cauliflower and broccoli. Tiramisu ice cream was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the tempranillo.

If you have a shop that can sell you ready prepared pastry and have saved enough beef casserole (recipe) you, too could make the pie. Simply drain off the sauce from the casserole and use it as gravy; roll out the pastry, insert the filling into it, and bake it in the oven for about half an hour on 200. The chef, when pressed for her timing, said: ‘Oh, I don’t know, I didn’t time it, I just stood and looked at it until it was the right brownness’. I don’t expect she did this for the whole time, but I think that gives you the idea.

Over The Fence

Virginia creeper cornerKnackered at the end of the day yesterday, I chose to ignore one encroachment of foliage onto the path. This hinged upon a Virginia creeper no longer adequately supported by a partially collapsed wooden arch. It was beset by one of our own expansive trees and rambling bramble. I knew, however, if I ventured into the undergrowth, I would find that what was pushing everything forward would be the invasive jungle from next door. I wasn’t up for that. Until I got up this morning.

First of all I had a wander round the garden trying to put off the beckoning task..PhiladelphusThalictrum aquilegifolieumPampas grass The philadelphus is doing well, and a thalictrum aquilegifoleum now blooms alongside a pampas grass that echoes the unidentified evergreen I photographed yesterday.

Until they are given a permanent location, the plants recovered from Shelly and Ron’s are deposited in various spots in the garden. Diasca and gernaniumsThese geraniums and diasca flank the bench:

That’s enough prevarication.

Holly, brambles, ivy and Lonicera were all seeking new accommodation on the other side of their ramshackle fence. One ivy entwined around our unidentified tree had a stem a good inch and more in diameter. Everything in our shrubbery fled in the path of the invading army.

I set to with the loppers, and when I eventually reached what was left of the fence and trimmed enough to look over it, this is what confronted me:Garden next door

I had no choice but to pursue the lonicera along the boundary until I met the rest of it by the reclaimed patio shrubbery. No doubt had I continued in the other direction there would have been more.

All this makes me rather relieved that the garden on the other side is all laid to gravel.

This afternoon Helen came for a visit. This meant I had the perfect excuse to come inside and chat, and to leave the task unfinished. Wire netting pushed inwardsBefore that,Shrubbery clearance I had reached a section of wire netting that our home’s previous owner had attached to the iron posts that seemingly were once supporting a fence. This had been shoved forward by the neighbour’s lonicera. I have begun to fix it back, although must remove more of the invader before I can make it taut. The cleared space shown is part of what I have hacked out.

Jackie produced a chicken jalfrezi (recipe) as marvellous as ever for our dinner this evening. We enjoyed it with boiled rice, vegetable samosas, and Cobra beer.